Systems:some tweek responsive,some not?

Some particular systems (all being unique) are more responsive to minor tweeks, and some are not moved at all.
I wonder if some of the debate over tweeks (like power cords) is due to trial and error testing: One Audiophile tries a little tweek, being skeptical, but descovers that the thing works, and is encouraged to explore further!... Another Audiophile tries the SAME tweek and finds nothing, and feels he's been made a fool of for wasting the money. They meet on a board such as this and call each other bad things.. When in reality they each tried it, and <> one noticed something and the other didn't, but they assumed the "tweek" was the key element, and missed that each ones system may have been so different that the tweek behaved as each sensed it.
Aside from the theoretical group who spout dogma (flames!!)and don't care about trying stuff out.
I wonder how many realize that the system that responds to a power cord is sort of on a knife edge, so to speak, and the system that is not just isn't in that particular sort of balance? (not to say a non-responsive system is "less" than one that bounces all around if you look at it funny.)
I would like to see some comments about the SYSTEM variables that seem to make it possible to begin to get the experiences found in tweeking, vs the things that suddenly nothing seems to change anything since you "X"....
FOR EXAMPLE: My system has gone from general non responsiveness to noticable since I got the Adcom 750 preamp..... and... blah blah blah. (I'm burn out thinking these big thoughts so I'll turn this over to anyone else to continue:
and due to the unique configuration of each system
(somehow these words dropped out of my post at <>
sorry, I shouldn't have used the <>
I agree completely. Particularly when it comes to power cords and power conditioners. It's very dependent on the quality of the incoming power and the power supply. I changed the power in the audioroom to 220v service with a toroidal transformer to drop it to 110v (2 sides at 55 volts out of phase). This dramatically improved the noise floor, but now expensive power cords don't have nearly the dramatic effect they once did.
Agreed. These things are all cumulative, and we're so used to changing an interconnect cable and hearing an immediate difference that it seems like power cords should do the same, or there's something wrong. Over the past year I've added a PS Audio 300 power plant, a Richard Gray Power Co. device, and a half dozen Bybee power line filters. A dealer recently offered me an astounding deal on a megabuck power cord and told me to try it first on the power supply that feeds my phono and head amps instead of the $500 cord that I have there. Result--nothing I could hear. His answer--replace all 8 cords in the system and you will, at a mere cost of 5 figures plus. At some point this all becomes too much.
It is not always a matter of balance or "on the edge". A very revealing and transparent preamp and amplifier are more tweekable simply because small changes can be reproduced by the equipment. Also some people have better hearing than others.
I completely agree. Each time I've upgraded my system the importance of footers (not only type but placement location on the equipment), shelf material, power cords and interconnects has gone up with the upgrade. I try all these different products, ie "quite line" filters on the noisest outlets and I'll test it on my friends. I'll leave the room, unplug a filter and go back in. They will explain that something just happened, a film of noise of something. I do this with as many things as possible with the ones that work for me . I've had them try it on there much less revealing systems and they don't get the same benifit. Power cords are the easiest to try, and blind switch or fake switch. Again on mine it's so obviouse, but not on theres.
This is why IMO a percentage of system cost is a valid method of budgeting cords and tweeks. A $3000 cord on a $50,000 system will make a proportional effect as a $300 on a $5,000. {of course this is an generalization, not a fact} I think it would be very valuable if tweeks were talked about with the system so people could understand if the discussion is relavent to them. It may well explain the strong opposing views. Good thoughts Elizabeth.
Using a good revealing system I have heard various improvements in sound depending upon what I change. The most significant change was when I installed dedicated AC power from a sub circuit panel. Of course different interconnects, speaker cables, digital cable, power cords, isolation cones, (etc) change the entire chemistry of everything, as does changing tubes on a preamp or amp. My bottom line is experiment, and be your own independent listener. Make changes based upon what sound you perfer. I think everything colors sound (some more than others). What you like is what you should strive for (in my opinion).
My rig is pretty darned revealing (a little too much so) which seems to make it more responsive to tweaks, as-said above. I'm actually trying to tone it down a bit now, somewhat less resolution = greater musicality, to my ears anyway.
Elizabeth; interesting thread. One of the things that intrigues, and keeps my interest in high end audio, is that it's highly unlikely that any two individual's stereo systems, IN THE ENTIRE WORLD, are the same. I have used McCormack amps for years, and some time ago I asked Steve McCormack if he could recommend a power cord for my DNA-2DX amp. He said he had been doing quite a bit of experimenting with PCs, and recommended a $200. cord by API. I tried it on my amp and it was terrible-- it created a huge, unnatural, forward, bloomy soundstage. Is that what it did on his amps? I doubt it, but don't know. His system is totally unique and so is mine, so is yours, and so is everyone elses. So, a tweak that works great in my system, may be terrible, or do nothing in yours. But sometimes tweaks do translate well, and I'm open to trying those that aren't too expensive in terms of time or money. Last summer I put in a dedicated AC and ground system for my stereo room (electricians did the work), and my system became so bright I couldn't stand it. Redkiwi (Audiogon member) later informed me that with the dedicated AC system I was probably hearing the limitations of my stock AC cords. So I auditioned 7 power cords and ended up putting Synergistic Research Master Couplers on my four main components-- problem solved. The SR/MCs are neutral and dynamic in my system. BTW, the other six PCs either had their own sonic signature(s), or did nothing. Again, the unique nature of each of our "systems" is such that the success or failure of a tweak will also be unique-- IMHO. Cheers. Craig. keeping with the "unique" theme, each of us has unique hearing and a unique taste in music. If not, we would all have the same stereo systems and music collections:>). Craig
I've been building my system for over 20 years. I have a multitude of tweks which cost very little to a hell of a lot. "Fringe" tweaks such as power cords, very high end cabling and power filtering make bigger improvments after getting the foundation of the system first established. By foundation I mean great speakers and a synergistically matched amplifier. A great front end be it vinyl, digital or both and a preamo that is transparant and matches the amp very well. No that you have that harmony and very revealing components you will more than likely hear the changes made by $1200 meter interconnects, $2000+ speaker wires and $1000 power cords. Someone mentioned a $50 K system earlier and it will be a system in that range that if properly matched, set up and in a good room will allow just about any footer, cable change, digital cable change, power cord change etc. to ring through. Now if you add something to that well matched expensive system and it isn't heard then I would believe that the newly added piece is not of much value. It is very clear that these changes are more apparent in the more revealing systems. my system is a work of love and passion and is carefulls tweaked, laid out and maintained. I am at the point that I am now seing value to adding $1200 meter interconnects, $3000 speaker wires and $2000 Shunyata Hydra power conditioners with jaw dropping changes. On a Pioneer receiver based system running rat shack 16 ga copper wire from a cheap sony CD player I dont think any of this stuff would matter. I don't even think it will make a significant difference with stuff on the lower end of mid fi seperates. I used to have some adcom gear and I could hear some benifits from power conditioning, interconnects and speaker sire changes but they were spewing forth from $5000 Unity Audio Fountain head Sognature speakers so I already had some quality speakers and a very good amp to make them sing. So the morale of my ramblings is that a transparent system will reveal mor of the tweaks than one this is less so.
Sorry, my typing really sucks! :)
Elizabeth......guess you hit a hot button with your use of the word "unique", but IMO, it really does explain a lot about a lot in this fascinating pursuit. I'll quit now. Cheers.
I think possibly it is more the owner is more responsive to "minor tweaks" than the system. I notice some members constantly change cables, speakers, etc. every month, each time saying they have a great cable now.....till next month.
Some people like to constantly buy new gear instead of listen to music, or so it seems to outside observers.
I think Esylstens' post is perfectly stated. My experience concures exactly. Thank-you Esylsten for the very well written thoughts, A+
As Garfish may or may not have alluded to earlier, system tweaks are also taste oriented to an extent. For example I sometimes have other audio guys come over and we try some different setups. Sometimes people will bring over some of their own equipment. (We should start a magazine!).

Anyway, one of the interesting things I notice is how different people will set up speakers in my room in different places. I purposely leave the speakers in a bad place, then let them 'fix' it to see what they come up with. I prefer my speakers to be far away from me, because I choose to give up soundstage precision for the sake of a more 'mid-hall' soundfield which reminds me more of a live performance. One of my friends insists that you should have the speakers 6 feet from you with sharp toe-in. This makes the soundfield imaging more precise, but I don't like the sense of having sound laser beamed at me. Another prefers the speakers more mid-room with minimal toe in for the widest soundstage. Yet another consistently places things exactly where I like them. (He's right!) All obtain fairly different sounding systems that are 'Just right'.

That's not even going into equipment changes !